Senator Ruiz and Mayor Booker to participate in ‘education town hall’

By John Mooney

It’s not exactly the keynote speech, but when it comes to education reform New Jersey will still be well represented as the Democratic National Convention kicks off today in Charlotte, NC.

State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) will be among a dozen panelists and Newark Mayor Cory Booker will give the closing remarks at a “education town hall” hosted today by the Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the five-year-old advocacy group making its mark in New Jersey and nationally.

New Jersey’s place in the spotlight at this week’s convention further bolsters the state’s rising prominence in the national discussion about school reform.

Long a reform advocate, Booker brings his own celebrity. He also is speaking at 6 p.m. to the full convention as co-chairman of the Democrats’ platform committee.

At the same time — and in large part due to Booker — Newark is getting some extra attention, thanks to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to the city’s public education system in 2010, a project still very much in progress.

Ruiz last month helped pull off a nearly unprecedented unanimous legislative passage of the state’s new tenure law, one that rewrites the rules for how and when teachers receive job protections.

The state Senate’s education committee chairman, Ruiz was chief architect of the measure and widely credited for building the coalition that won its passage, including Christie himself.


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